Palace: Gov't prepared for El Niño
MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang said on Saturday, August 15, it is prepared to deal with the effects of El Niño, which scientists predict could be among the strongest in over 6 decades.
It added that government projections and the country's experience in past El Niño spells are helping them plan for it, especially when it comes to a possible drought.
In an interview with state-run Radyo ng Bayan, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said that President Benigno Aquino III has been monitoring the situation closely.
"Even before the recent news about the coming El Niño this September, the President has already been aware and he’s already been briefed on the progress – because there are projections for it, right?" Valte said. (READ: How El Niño could affect the Philippines in 2015)
The projections have been laid out by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). These will aid the DOST and other relevant agencies in planning their next steps, she continued.
At the onset of El Niño in the country in March, state weather bureau PAGASA warned about El Niño's adverse effects, including warmer-than-normal temperatures, depending on the location and time period.
El Niño may also affect the track and intensity of tropical cyclones. Storms could shift northward and could become stronger, PAGASA said.
Possible dry spells
Meanwhile, based on information that reached her, Valte said the country would have to prepare for a drought.
"In any case, now that the DOST has come up with their projections, our agencies can be properly guided on what they need to do, whether it’s cloud-seeding, or the preparation of the water supply, to be able to send water for irrigation," she explained.
Valte recounted that the country had experienced lesser-than-normal rainfall in some areas of the country last summer. Since then, she said agencies "have already been implementing their action plans in those areas."
"So that experience is helping us plan and prepare for the coming El Niño as projected by the DOST," she added.
"What's on our side... is that we have more lessons from the time, and that there is more technology that can help aid in the solution," continued Valte. (READ: El Niño 2015: How can Filipinos better understand it?)
Foreign scientists forecast that this year's El Niño could be "among the strongest ones" on record since 1950, reported the Agence France-Presse (AFP).
AFP also reported that the last El Niño spell 5 years ago triggered monsoons in Southeast Asia, droughts in southern Australia, the Philippines and Ecuador, blizzards in the United States, heatwaves in Brazil, and killer floods in Mexico. – Rappler.com